"I am finding the book to be an incredibly useful resource!"

     "A must read."

"The tone is open, direct, forgiving, non-preachy,and highly understandable."

Review excerpts and links

Review, October 2011 in  Monografica.org (Spanish language) by Raquel Pelta, “La sostenibilidad es un viaje.”

Review, August 2008, of the Swedish translation , Design För Hållbar Utveckling (available from Raster Förlag of Stockholm), by Lotta Jonson in Dagens Nyheter (Swedish daily newspaper).

Design by the Bay blog, post July 2008 review by Sally Woodbridge, “The book’s message is about how design in all fields can move toward the goals of sustainability; the integration of information about design and sustainability rewards users with a rich range of ideas, concepts, and facts presented in a sophisticated format that is itself thought-provoking. As with other kinds of atlases, the varied text does not converge on one conclusion. Rather, readers take what they need to make their own.”

New Design, Issue FiftyFive 2007 review “[the book] explores the basic principles, concepts and practices of sustainable design in an engaging style. It is neither a ‘how to’ manual, nor collection of recipes for sustainable design, but a compendium of fresh approaches to sustainability that designers can incorporate into daily thinking and practice.”

Materials and Design Exchange eNewsletter 8 Nov 07 review by Hugh Aldersey-Williams (author, Zoomorphic), “ranging across design disciplines from architecture to product to fashion in an appealingly browsable, visual, information-rich way. Neither po-faced nor hair-shirted, it’s divided into sections on ecology, economy and culture, holistically accepting that we live in a consumerist world where apparently trivial things like style actually matter to us in deep ways. These three contexts converge in the final section, called Frontiers, which tackles our obsession with the look, feel and possession of things. Here author Ann Thorpe suggests how we ‘might begin to detach visuality and materialism from our notions of well-being’. It might sound like some weird spiritual quest, but Thorpe makes a good case that this is actually a job for designers.”

Architectural Record, October 2007 review by Russell Fortmeyer, “lays out a broader map of sustainability for designers…giving the reader a highly visual and accessible tutorial in subjects as diverse as lifecycle analysis and materials production to the effects of economic globalization and corporate responsibility.”

Sustainable Industires, September 2007 review by Aaron Berg “[the book] is presented as a resource guide for designers (of anything) but even as a non-designer I still found it interesting and relevant…Sustainable Industries has offered reviews of books focused on design, and this is the only one I would recommend to a professional interested in the discipline of sustainable design.”

Library Journal, September 2007 review by David Soltész “Thorpe presents a holistic approach to embedding sustainability into every step of the design process that is applicable to everything from jeans to office buildings. Rather than promoting any specific technology or process, she uses the metaphor of an atlas to guide the designer through various “landscapes,” treating ecology, the economy, and culture as interdependent spheres the designer should strive to understand, engage, and enhance. ”

ForeWord review by Erica Wetter, “a superb primer on the conceptual principles behind the sustainability movement so that all designers—whether they’re working on buildings, cars, or ads—can help society move toward a sustainable future.”

Treehugger.com, 10 July 2007review by Lloyd Alter, Toronto, excerpt: “This book is an essential, clear and comprehensible reference for any kind of designer.”

Dexigner– news item.


“This book is the best introduction yet for integrating sustainability throughout the design process. The tone is open, direct, forgiving, non-preachy, and highly understandable. It should be required reading in every design program.”
—Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; director of Graphic Design MFA Program, Maryland Institute College of Art; and author of D.I.Y: Design It Yourself and Thinking with Type.

“This eloquently visualized Atlas gives deep insight on the economic and social facets of sustainable development. In critiquing the damaging environmental and social consequences of “free-market” economics, it outlines intelligent strategies for designing systems that restore ecological health and that equitably distribute financial wealth to all societal strata. Designers, businesses, and concerned citizens will learn much from this urgently needed and refreshingly wise roadmap.”
—Philip White, assistant professor, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Reader Comments

“I would like to thank you for your inspiring book, The Designers Atlas of Sustainability which helped me very much to prepare the students for the subject”
- Kathi Stertzig, Germany

“I have referenced and revisited your writing many times in my own practice and the book has become required reading for the classes I teach on sustainable fashion. The book not only critiques the current state of affairs, but also offers practical solutions specifically for designers.”
- Lynda Grose, California College of Arts and Crafts, USA

“I enjoyed reading your book – a very clear and useful ‘atlas’.”
- Hazel Clark Ph.D.
Dean, School of Art and Design History and Theory
Parsons The New School for Design, New York

“The book is a really sensitive approach to sustainability, and it has inspired, enlightened and elucidated the concepts relating to sustainability in general for me. I read it twice, and have recommended it to all of my students and colleagues.”
- Rebecca Reubens, Managing Director, RHIZOME, Ahmedabad India

“I am finding the book to be an incredibly useful resource!”
- Dr Fiona Charnley, Institute of Energy & Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, UK

“Love the Atlas. Brilliant.”
- John Gertsakis, Senior Sustainability Associate at WSP Environment & Energy, Australia

“If you are a designer attempting to navigate the broad landscape of sustainable design, this Atlas offers the basic fundamentals without skimping on the complexities of our integrated systems. A must-read .”
- Kara Pecknold, Olivelife Creative, Vancouver, Canada

“A couple of years ago now I attended your discussion at Emily Carr University about your book the Designers Atlas of Sustainability. I was so inspired; you’ve had a lasting effect on me.”
- Amanda Fetterly, Sustainability Chair
Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC)

“We have used your book (the Swedish version) as course literature, as it is one of very few well-written books that connects several aspects of design to sustainability in a broad sense.”
- Joel Svedlund, Design med Omtanke, West Sweden

“I really love the Atlas! My goal is to put it in the hands of every teacher in our state.”
- Gilda Wheeler, Program Supervisor, Sustainability & Science, Office of Public Instruction
Olympia, WA, USA

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